The Economist, 18th Roundtable with the Government
- 09 July - 10 July 2014
- Athens, Greece
Distinguished personalities from around the world brainstormed, openly discussed, and put forward new proposals on the all the issues that the 18th Greek Roundtable covered. Europe 2050, lessons to be learnt from EU members states on economic recovery, restructuring the Greek economy, privatization schemes and investment, finance, energy, tourism, shipping, business, technology and innovation were the key topics covered during the two day government roundtable. You can see the agenda here.
Globo’s CEO Costis Papadimitrakopoulos conducted a presentation on “Restoring Competitiveness and Establishing a new growth model for Greece”.
Watch CEO’s speech
Read speech transcript
Good morning everyone.
My name is Costis Papadimitrakopoulos and I am the founder and CEO of Globo, a global technology firm which was found 17 years ago in Greece.
Cautious of time, I will tell you today two small stories in an effort to point out a significant growth aspect that Greece and even the EU is not paying attention to.
So I start with the first story.
Globo is listed in the AIM Stock market of London and is growing rapidly. Recently we completed our third acquisition in the USA, we are amongst the ten biggest companies in the enterprise mobility sector and now positioned amongst the three best companies when considering the completeness of our products. It is worth mentioning that the other two companies are IBM and SAP.
For the past couple of days we have been discussing Greece’s primary Production, tourism, services, natural gas, including many other things. In this context, what first comes to mind is fishing, agriculture and natural resources. Primary production is defined as the exploitation of the natural resources for the production of consumer products. What the Greek State and the European Union fails to realize, is that our country’s most valuable asset is the “Great minds” that we keep on losing, due to lack of employment opportunities, in other words we are talking about “brain drain”.
Greece is a small country, which means its natural resources are already limited but the strength of these minds would overcome those geographical limitations and produce cutting edge products that could meet success globally.
That was the first part of my speech. In the second part, I would like to show you how people out of Greece appreciate the power of the “brains”.
Almost a year ago, GLOBO participated at a Gartner Conference (Gartner is considered as one of the biggest technological analysts in the world), where I met an experienced Gartner analyst. He asked me where we are coming from and I told him, Greece. He was surprised and he asked me to meet him the next day to give me a presentation. The next day we met again and the analyst gave me a presentation with subject ‘How to make a Hitech Nation’ by studying the example of the High Tech industry in Israel, a country that 30 years ago had no relation with this sector and nowadays is a High Tech superpower! In order to come to such an achievement, great minds are not a sufficient source on its own, it is also critical to plan ahead and have strong will.
I will always remember a slide where he demonstrated (in a bar graph) the contribution of each EU nation in the production of Hitech, and guess what, Greece was not there!! I asked him if this is a mistake and he responded NO, because according to Gartner Greece is not a technology producer but a technology consumer!!!
I was shocked….
So I asked him to come in Greece and present in a special workshop that we would setup to Greek policy makers.
Six months later, we arranged a workshop with the participation of the Minister of development Mr. Chatzidakis and the President of the Greek Committee of Telecommunications Mr. Kanellos.
The outcome of this workshop resulted to the signature of an agreement between the Greek Ministry of Development, the Israeli Government and YOZMA (the organization responsible for Israel’s success in the Hi-Tech industry) to help Greece to develop its high tech industry.
Nowadays, the Greek Ministry of Development is cooperating with several industry players related to innovation and hi-tech to implement a framework which will support the technology sector.
What we can safely say is that progress will derive from the already known and developed markets that are leading Greece’s GDP.
Technology can add impressive results and several opportunities for development. If we realize it, the value added could be enormous!
To conclude, our “Greek minds” are what we need to focus on, because they are our valuable natural resource that can help the Greek economy in multiple ways.